Broussonetia papyrifera, or Paper Mulberry, is a small to medium sized deciduous tree native to temperate Eastern Asia and Polynesia. In the Orient, the inner bark is used for making paper, and in Polynesia, it is used for making tapa cloth. Leaves are ovate, 8 inches (20 cm) long, and are either unlobed or variably deeply lobed. They are olive-green, rough above, and velvety pubescent and grayish below. This plant has been naturalized in the Eastern United States in USDA zone 6.
Blooming Time: In the spring, the trees bloom with female flowers forming globose heads and the male flowers in drooping catkins. The fruit is a small syncarp composed of orange-red drupelets.
Culture: Broussonetia papyrifera need full sun to partial shade with a rich soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand. The plants are watered well, then allowed to dry slightly before water is applied again. They are fertilized monthly with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season. Their size is easily controlled by container size and very little pruning is needed. If pruning is needed, we do it during the winter months and re-potting is done in the spring. In late September, we start restricting water and subject the plants to cooler temperatures. Once all the leaves have dropped, the plants are moved to our "cool rooms" for winter. Plants are water monthly while they are dormant.
Propagation: Broussonetia papyrifera are propagated by cuttings of green and ripe wood, root cutting with bottom heat, layers and from suckers and seed.
Broussonetia papyrifera was featured as Plant of the Week April 23-29, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.